A pre-marital agreement is a vital part of any marriage, especially when expensive assets are involved. A prenup is often believed to be about wealth, but it can also protect someone from entering a marriage with a partner who has a lot of debt. No one believes their marriage is going to end in divorce, but if it does, a pre-marital agreement makes the proceeding less stressful. The agreement can resolve property distribution issues and issues surrounding spousal support.
The Gonzalez Law Group has decades of experience drafting pre-marital agreements, including cohabitation agreements, post-nuptial agreements, and prenuptial agreements. Our family law team will guide you and your future spouse through the drafting process and make sure your prenuptial agreement meets the standards set by the court. The Gonzalez Law Group assists clients with pre-marital agreements in all areas of Harris County including Houston, Pearland, Brookside Village, Bellaire, Cloverleaf, Channel View, and many others. Contact our office today to learn how we can help.
- Texas Pre-Marital Agreement Laws
- Benefits of a Pre-Marital Agreement
- Postnuptial Agreements
- Additional Resources
Texas Pre-Marital Agreement Laws
Ensuring the court accepts a pre-marital agreement is the most important component of the process. When it’s not accepted, the agreement holds no weight and the court will be left to decide divorce issues.
The Texas Family Code sets the requirements for a valid, enforceable prenup and they include the following:
- The agreement is in writing
- Both parties signed the agreement
- It was executed before the marriage
- Both parties disclosed all their assets and liabilities
- Both parties represent their own interest
Just about every issue that comes up during a divorce can be covered in the prenup, except for child support. Under section 4.003 of the Family Code, a couple can draft a pre-marital agreement to dispute the following issues:
- Obligations and rights regarding property
- Rights to manage and control property
- The division of property in divorce, separation, death and other events
- Spousal support issues
- The creation of a will, trust or other arrangements to carry out the agreement
- Rights to benefits from a life insurance policy
- The choice of law that governs the agreement
- Any other matter that doesn’t violate the public policy or criminal laws of Texas
Following the marriage, a couple can make changes to the agreement or revoke it altogether. This can only be done through a written agreement signed by both spouses. Any revocation or amendment will be enforced without consideration by the court. You should speak with an attorney before making any changes to the prenup to ensure it’s in your best interest.
Benefits of a Pre-Marital Agreement
Couples are using pre-marital agreements now more than ever. The agreement is a way for couples to create a financial mission statement. Not only does a prenup cover who gets what in a divorce, but it can also act as a blueprint for the financial future of you and your partner.
The pros of a pre-marital agreement are endless, but listed below are a few of the most common benefits.
- Saves money and time: Divorce is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. With a properly drafted prenup, couples can address all the legal hurdles of a divorce. This can result in a quick resolution and avoid expensive legal fees.
- Communication: Most couples avoid the topic of prenups. The idea of planning for divorce before marriage is official can be a romance killer, but being open about finances, property and expectations before a wedding is beneficial. Even if the document is never drafted, you and your spouse are creating a level of trust that can keep a marriage afloat for years.
- Debt Protection: If you or your spouse is entering the marriage with debt and other liabilities, a pre-marital agreement will establish who is liable for them in the event of a divorce.
- Protect Separate Property: The most stressful aspect of a divorce is dividing assets. During a divorce, a judge will decide what is marital property and what is separate property and then divide it. A pre-marital agreement can specify property that belongs to each spouse and how it should be divided in a divorce.
Pre-martial agreements can only be made before marriage. Once a marriage is legal, couples lose their right to draft the agreement. It may be too late to draft a prenup, but it’s not too late for a postnuptial agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenup. Both agreements cover issues that would arise during divorce proceedings such as alimony and property division. This marriage agreement is required to be in writing and signed by both spouses for it to be valid. A postnuptial is also required to be fair. For example, if one spouse were given all property while the other is given all the debt, it would be considered unfair by the court and therefore invalid.
Whether you need to draft a prenup or a postnuptial agreement, you should do so under the guidance of an experienced attorney. They can ensure the agreement covers all the necessary issues and requirements needed for the agreement to be valid.
Additional Resources for Pre-Marital Agreements
Postnuptial Agreements | Texas Family Code – Follow the link to read the section of the Family Code that governs postnuptial agreements. You can learn more about the limitations of the agreement and how it’s enforced. The code can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Pre-Marital Agreement | Texas Family Code– View the precise legal text of what can be included in a pre-marital agreement. You can also gain access to other regulations in the Family Code. The statute can be read on FindLaw.com, an online legal resource.
Contact a Houston Pre-Marital Agreement Lawyer
If you are planning to have a pre-marital agreement drafted, you should contact The Gonzalez Law Group. We will ensure the agreement meets all the requirements and covers all the issues you and your spouse wish to disclose. The Gonzalez Law Group has 70 years of collective experience assisting clients with pre-marital agreements in Harris County communities. Some of the areas we serve include Seabrook, League City, Deer Park and Pasadena. Schedule a free case consultation with us today. Call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form.